Xiaomi and Meizu are both China-based companies, and on the first look not that comparable. The former is currently China’s number one smartphone OEM, while the latter is nowhere near there. These two are very comparable though, as soon as you take a closer look at both of these companies, which we’ll do now. Xiaomi is the talk of the town these days, this company was founded back in 2010, which basically means it’s a very young company. That didn’t stop them from becoming an extremely powerful company in just 4.5 years though, they’re currently worth $46 billion, have acquired over $1 billion in investments recently, have sold 61 million smartphones in 2014 and their operating system has over 100 million users at the moment. These are really staggering numbers for such a young company, no matter which way you spin things.
In comparison, Meizu is a far smaller company. This Chinese smartphone OEM released “only” 3 smartphones last year and are nowhere near Xiaomi as far as shipments go. Meizu is a well-respected company which is also growing really fast, they were shipping out 1 million smartphones a month until last month when they shipped out 1.5 million units and broke the company’s record. Meizu keeps on increasing their manufacturing capacity which will surely help them expand their business even further in the future, they’re able to sell out over 100,000 devices in a matter of seconds, just like Xiaomi. I expect Meizu to grow at an incredible rate in the near future, they’re doing all the right things and could become a real threat if they keep it up.
For now, both of these companies are limited to China as far as smartphone sales go, well, more or less. You can get Meizu’s devices from Amazon for example, and Xiaomi sells their devices through Flipkart in India, plus there are always resellers. So they’re not exactly that limited, but compared to a lot of international companies, this is nothing. Xiaomi is going to announce their expansion plans this month, they’re expected to open up shop in India, while South-East Asia, Brazil and Russia have also been mentioned. We’ll find out everything soon enough. You might also recall that Xiaomi held an event in San Francisco quite recently, though they’ve announced that they won’t be selling smartphones in the U.S. anytime soon, more on that later.
Meizu, on the other hand, is somewhat mysterious as far as expansions go. This company has quite recently also received significant investment from Alibaba, we’re talking about $590 million for a minority share in the company. Alibaba is the biggest e-commerce company in China, even worldwide if we’re looking at the amount of merchandise they’re handling. That e-commerce company has also promised Meizu support in all sorts of dealings, so that will definitely help them grow even further. That’s not all though, Meizu has signed a partnership agreement with Canonical a while back, and an Ubuntu-powered Meizu phone is expected to arrive shortly. According to a bunch of reports, the aforementioned Ubuntu-powered Meizu device will land in Europe, just like the BQ handset did, so that’s always good news. That fact alone could benefit Meizu, though I believe their Android-powered devices would be far more in-demand than anything else, especially at such affordable prices.
Speaking of price, that’s another thing that makes these two companies both alike, and rather popular in China. They basically make high-end affordable smartphones, amongst other things. Xiaomi is already dealing with a lot of stuff outside of the smartphone sector, they already have all sorts of smart devices under their belt, and Meizu has just started doing the same. These two companies are more alike than you might think, as you can see. Now, regarding the international expansion part, both of them have to be careful, very careful. Those markets are significantly different than the one in China, and they have to adapt to them. There are also lawsuits that these two companies have to think about outside of Asia, patents are a finicky thing and they can basically end up in ruins if Apple or Samsung, for example, find something out of the ordinary in their business and decide to crush them.
There is a reason why Xiaomi didn’t announce that they’ll sell their smartphones in the U.S. just now, they would almost certainly get sued by someone, most probably Apple. It’s not exactly a secret that Xiaomi is Apple-inspired, even though they’re trying to change that, they’re still not there. They have to alter a lot of stuff in order to be eligible (in a way) to enter certain markets around the world, though I believe they’re ready to continue expanding in emerging markets, that’s why I do believe that they’ll expand to India and Brazil first of all, and perhaps further into other Asian parts, but it might take some time for them to expand to the U.S. or Europe, at least not in full force. As you probably already know, Xiaomi did announce that they’ll sell some devices in the U.S. soon, but not smartphones, only smart accessories, which is a very smart move by the company, at least in my opinion. They’ll get some brand recognition in the States, and will avoid any lawsuits, while they’ll get the necessary time to adapt and launch their full lineup of devices there.